Vanessa Museum and presenting it to the kindergarteners.

Vanessa Museum and presenting it to the kindergarteners.

Vanessa Greer March 25, 2011 Book Review Spring2011-EDF1005-Intro Education-339283 Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esme Raji Codell The book I chose was Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esme Raji Codell. I chose this book because I honestly judged it from the title on the book review assignment page and found this to possibly be something that might help me in my journey into becoming a teacher. I found this book to very amusing and very touching.

I thought that Esme’s attitude and writing style was funny and easy to read and understand.One of my favorite stories in the book is the one when Esme made Billy Williams teach the class for a day because he was misbehaving. Esme threatened suspension to Billy for cursing and being disrespectful, so he accepted the punishment of teaching the class for the day instead of suspension. I thought it was great that he was able to mimic and recite specific lines that Esme used even though he didn’t always seem to be paying attention, something that I see in my own son when one of his friends does something wrong in our house.Esme was also able to assume the position as a student, which was interesting and possibly something that I might use myself someday in my own classroom. The fact that this strategy to calm down Billy actually worked is impressive. Another one of my favorite stories is how she helped her students get some extra help with their alphabet by setting up an Alphabet Museum and presenting it to the kindergarteners.

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It is scenarios like this that gives me ideas for how life might be like in my classrooms someday and gives me ideas on how to set up m classroom and deal with unexpected problems like this.Esme was able to create a lively yet controllable learning environment in her classroom. She did this by being stern yet caring involving herself in the lives of the students. Each morning, as the children arrive to the classroom, they must individually say good morning, vent about any problems they have, and come up with a word that they are interested in. This ritual allows the students to get things off of their chest that might be troubling them at home so that they can have a calm and stable learning environment.Another way she became involved in her students lives was the day one girl brought her baby brother with her to class, yet the reader never really learns why this happened, just how Esme deals with it that day. One of the other things that I liked about the book is the way that it started out with a letter from one of the previous fifth graders.

Every year that I was in school, up until ninth grade, the teachers had us write a letter to the new students for the next year to make their transition just that much easier. Another things that I liked about the book is she described setting up her classroom for the first time.She included how she dressed up her bulletin boards for the first day, her mean teacher outfit for the first day, and why and how she arranged the desks. Honestly, as a student learning to become a teacher, these are not things that one normally thinks about before they actually become a teacher. One of the things that this book inspired me to do for my own benefit on my way to becoming a teacher, is to start a notebook with ideas on how I am going to go about my teaching styles, ideas on curriculums and projects, whether it be arts and crafts or bulletin boards.Now a few words about the author.

Esme Raji Codell was born in 1968 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Northeastern Illinois University and graduated from their in 1992. She has had a career as a bookseller, teacher (where she obtained her diary for Educating Esme), a librarian and a children’s literature specialist. She currently lives just outside Chicago with her son and husband and works on her website Planet Esme, which is a children’s literature Web site and literary salon.

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